Rise of the Nuclear Greens

Robert Bryce, a highly respected author and now film producer, who recently released the film “Juice: How Electricity Explains the World,” attempted to tackle the counter-intuitive phenomena that was being noticed at that time—approximately two years after the devastating disaster at Fukushima—wherein prominent environmentalists who were anti-nuclear before the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant became pro-nuclear after the accident.

Bryce reports on the emergence of what he calls “pronuclear Greens,” and the bifurcation that they represented in the environmental movement. These leading environmental thinkers, it turns out, realized that despite how horrific the earthquake-induced tsunami was, and its ability to eliminate power to the nuclear plant for enough time to cause the meltdown of three of the four reactors at the Daiichi plant, that nevertheless, the actual loss of life from that accident was so negligible, it was almost something to celebrate.

Of course, the tsunami swept away some 15,000 souls. In the lead-up to the meltdown, the fear created by the threat of what would happen, caused unbelievable panic, that hundreds of people died from accidents, heart attacks, the failure to give proper medical treatment, and many other causes.  Estimates put the number of deaths related to the ordered evaculation at about 1,000. But the number of people who died from the meltdowns themselves as well as from the amount of escaping radiation?  Zero.

Yes, there was a catastrophic failure at a nuclear power plant but, the more you learn about it, the more you realize that lives would have been saved had there not been the evacuation order in the first place. That the damage done was limited primarily to the physical plant and none spilled out to the surrounding community.  What radiation did escape was relatively minor and impacts from that would have been highly treatable with iodine and routine check-ups.  In fact, the fear of nuclear was more dangerous than the meltdown.

Read Robert Bryce’s prescient article “Rise of the Nuclear Greens,” published at The Breakthrough Institute.